As we move toward reopening businesses and into the recovery stage, it’s critical that employees and customers feel confident that your facility has been properly cleaned and disinfected post-COVID-19.
The three main strategies for reducing the spread of COVID-19 as outlined by the Government of Canada are:
- Physical distancing
- Personal hygiene (hand washing)
- Cleaning and disinfecting
Follow these 4 steps to ensure that your facility is safe and ready for returning employees and customers.
- Conduct a Risk Assessment and Create a Worksite Plan
A risk assessment identifies areas of risk within your facility of the spread of COVID-19 so that you can identify what risks you need to eliminate or minimize. A worksite specific plan is required so that you can keep your employees and customers safe.
Key Steps for Your Risk Assessment:
- Conduct a visual risk assessment to identify high risk areas within your facility
- Identify areas and situations where employees and customers may be at risk due to high touch surfaces and equipment
- Identify the measures that need to be taken to minimize the risks and prevent the spread of the virus
If during the risk assessment you identify that your facility has been contaminated don’t try to attempt to clean a contaminated site with your inhouse cleaning team. Hire a professional cleaning company who have the necessary training and equipment and follow a site-specific decontamination protocol.
Once you have identified the risk factors, you’ll then need to create a worksite plan and share with all employees so that everyone’s on the same page for execution.
Ensure you complete the following steps for your worksite plan:
- Identify the person(s) responsible for implementing the worksite plan so everyone knows who the lead is
- Train and communicate with employees on how to execute on the plan
- Create a process to check with employee compliance with the plan
- Create a process and plan for infected employees
- Plan for communicating with customers on the safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19
- Budget for additional cleaning services if outsourced or additional time required by internal cleaners
- Cleaning and Disinfecting
Ensuring your facility is safe for returning employees and customers will involve a two-step process of cleaning followed by disinfecting.
What is cleaning?
Cleaning works to physically remove germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces or objects by using soap (or detergent) and water. Proper cleaning lowers the number of germs and lowers the risk of spreading infection. Cleaning on its own, however, doesn’t necessarily kill the germs.
What is disinfecting?
Disinfecting works by using a chemical solution to kill or inactivate germs on surfaces or objects. To work effectively, most disinfectants need to stay on the surface for 10 minutes. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs from an entire area. Killing germs on a surface, however, is the best way to lower the risk of spreading infection. Disinfectants are commonly applied to floors, walls, toilets, desks, sinks, chairs, ceilings, etc.
One thing to note regarding disinfectants is that they contain strong chemicals which can be harmful to people, like bleach for example. This means that most disinfectants can’t be used on porous food preparation surfaces, or objects like toys that a child might put in their mouth. Many also have to be used in well-ventilated areas.
A list of what a particular disinfectant kills appears on the product’s label. It should be noted that disinfectants don’t kill all microorganisms, so you have to know your product and what you are dealing with.
How to clean and disinfect thoroughly and properly
Germs can be bacteria, fungi or viruses; each behave differently. Viruses generally don’t remain active on surfaces for very long. They look for a host (like a human), otherwise, they can’t function. Bacteria, however, can live and reproduce independently. Some can survive on surfaces for a long time, feeding off dirt and food (it’s why certain bacteria causes food poisoning).
The purpose of thorough cleaning is to kill germs on high touch areas. Some germs stay longer on some surfaces than others, and not all germs react the same way to all cleaning products. It’s essential to match your cleaning and disinfecting activities to the types of germs you want to remove or kill. This typically means using the right combination of cleaning and disinfecting.
For proper and thorough cleaning on high touch areas, a cleaning product is used first. Then the surface is disinfected as appropriate.
- Personal Hygiene
Ensure all your employees have access to a sink with running water and soap for frequent hand washing. Also provide hand sanitization stations in places where handwashing is not available, examples include building entrances and exits, food courts and cafeterias, elevators, loading docks and retail areas.
It’s a good idea to review best practices such as sneezing into tissues or their hand and then immediately thoroughly washing their hands, to avoid the spread of viruses and germs.
Ensure that your employees are wearing appropriate PPE for your business for example face masks and gloves.
- Physical Distancing
Implement measures to physically separate people by at least 2 metres using physical partitions or visual clues such as floor markings, coloured tape or signs.
You can also minimize the risk to employees and customers by using barriers such as plexiglass when physical distancing cannot be maintained such as at the checkout.
Kleenway has developed the COVIDkleen™ program which is a rigorous set of protocols and procedures that are integral to identifying and mitigating the risk of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in your facility. This ensures we consistently deliver on our promise to effectively clean and disinfect your facilities.
If you’d like more information on how we can ensure your facility is COVIDkleen™ please contact us or call 1-888- 638-5587.